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Bexley GP practices challenged over use of 0844 numbers
GP PRACTICES in Bexley are being challenged over use of 0844 numbers for patients booking appointments.
Council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill, chairman of Bexley's health and wellbeing board, has written to ask five practices asking them not to promote the use of 0844 numbers which lead to patients incurring unnecessary costs.
These are Lakeside in Thamesmead, Cairngall in Belvedere, Good Health in Barnehurst, Parkside in Bexleyheath and Plas Meddyg in Bexley.
Cllr O'Neill said: "I hope the local practices will stop promoting these numbers now without the need for NHS England to take action against them."
"Many people operate on tight budgets and the board are very unhappy they could find themselves paying unnecessarily for a basic service that should be free."
But Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said: "0844 numbers have a place as they offer a cheaper service to the practice and are inexpensive for people calling from a landline.
"I have worked with GPs to make sure they offer and advertise an alternate landline number for those with mobiles.
"Lakeside and Cairngall offer their patients the best of both worlds with 0844 and a landline."
NHS England has pledged to take action against GP practices charging more for 0844 calls than the cost of telephoning a local number.
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